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April 1, 2005

Take a deep breath.  As you inhale, say to yourself,
“God gives life...”  As you exhale, say to yourself, “and He sustains mine.”  Repeat this exercise a few more times.  Don’t be shy.  It’s only you and God who are watching.

The blessings of God are a lot like breathing.

Breathing is such a simple thing.  Like so many of God’s blessings that we may take for granted we breathe without thinking about it.

God creates the plants that produce the oxygen we breathe.  He created our lungs to take that oxygen into our bodies.  He created our bodies to process and use that oxygen.

Try counting the number of times you breathe.  After a few hours of counting most of us will give up.  As with each breath, so also are the innumerable blessings of God.

The Jerusalem Bible paraphrases 2 Peter 1:3:  “By His divine power, He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God Himself, who has called us by His own glory and goodness.”

There are times when I do not feel blessed.  Feeling the pace and pressures of life, rushing from place to place and commitment to commitment, I often pause just long enough to tell God my requests, complaints, and concerns.

And yet, He has given us all things which we need for life and our relationship with Him.  Sometimes (more often than we do) we need to stop and consider the blessings of God.

Family, food, shelter, health, transportation, career, income...  These are things which we have breathed in by an act of God’s grace.  They’re not things we’ve produced or acquired by our own skill or intelligence (though we are often tempted to think so).

More so… The God who has revealed His love towards us through His Son, Jesus, is always with us.  No matter where we go, what we do, or what we go through He remains at our side caring, nurturing, and loving.  His peace is always a prayer away.

The power of the Almighty God, which brought forth creation, upholds the universe and which defeated Satan through the resurrection of Jesus, is applied in gentle love to our cares and concerns.  God not only knows the best way through our difficulties, but He has the power to carry us through them.

To exhale is essential for life.  If we choose to stop breathing, even if our lungs are full of oxygen, we die.

Too often we consider the blessings of God as given to us to keep or use as we see fit.   Yet, God blesses us with purpose.  To use what He gives us according to His will, in His ministry, for His glory.  Each time we hold back the movement of God’s blessings through us we begin to suffocate spiritually.

To exhale is an act of faith.  When we exhale we have faith that there will be oxygen to breathe in and that our lungs will operate properly and pull in the new air.  If we really do trust that God will take care of our needs then we need to let go of what He has already blessed us with.  

Breathing is a repetitive cycle.  What we exhale makes room for what we need to take into our bodies.  The more we release what we have received the more we find that God is faithful to supply what we need.  And so we grow spiritually - learning to trust God and to serve Him.

Let’s not take breathing for granted.  God give life.  God sustains our lives.  Let us gratefully breathe deep of all that He gives us and then exhale.